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Brian Schiff’s Blog

Injury Prevention, Sports Rehab & Performance Training Expert

Archive for 'low back'

Many of my clients need to improve shoulder and pillar stability.  Combating poor glenohumeral and scapular stability and insufficient trunk stability is a must to reduce injury risk, resolve shoulder and back pain and eliminate compensatory motion with exercise, sport and life.

The following two exercises are “go to” ones I utilize to do just this.

Plank Push-ups

Stir the Pot

The links above are for two recent exercise columns I authored for PFP Magazine.  These exercises include load bearing using the client’s bodyweight and include progressions and regressions.

Improving lateral chain strength is always a priority when training or rehabbing athletes. Improving anti-rotation stability is particularly important for injury prevention and dissipation of forces in the transverse plane. Whether working with a post-op ACL client or training an overhead athlete, I am always seeking ways to increase torso/pillar stability to increase efficiency of movement and reduce injury risk.

This video below from my Functionally Fit series for PFP Magazine will demonstrate a great exercise do accomplish these training goals.

Emphasis should always be placed on maintaining alignment. Do not progress the load too quickly, and be cautious if using the fully extended down arm position if clients have a history of shoulder instability or active shoulder pathology as this places more stress on the glenohumeral joint. Below are some progressions and regressions as well:

Regressions

1. Decrease the hold time as needed to maintain form and alignment
2. Allow the kettlebell to rest against the right dorsal wrist/forearm
3. Stack the top foot in front of the other foot as opposed to stacking them on top of one another to increase stability
4. Bend the knees to 90 degrees to reduce the body’s lever arm

Progressions

1. Increase the weight of the kettlebell and/or increase hold time
2. Lift the top leg away from the down leg
3. Add light perturbations to the top arm during the exercise to disrupt balance and challenge stability
4. Perform the exercise with the down arm fully extended

Well, it has been too long since my last post.  Between seeing patients and the onset of spring sports with my kids, I have not been writing as much as I would like.  I hope to get back to posting at least twice per month very soon.  In the meantime, I thought I would share two recent videos I did for PFP Magazine.  They include a half kneeling torso rotation and supine torso anti-rotation using the Surge.  Both are great ways to improve rotary stability.

Rotational stability within the shoulders, torso and hips is critical for optimal performance in sport and injury prevention. Often, clients will exhibit asymmetries with respect to trunk stability with pillar assessments and the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).  I often see 2/1 scores on the RS.  Addressing any asymmetry is important for athletes and weekend warriors involved in cutting, pivoting, and rotational sports.

There are several exercises that can be used to increase rotary stability.  One exercise I recently featured for PFP Magazine in my online column, Functionally Fit, uses a bottoms-up kettlebell hold with trunk rotation to accomplish this.  This particular exercise can be used to increase anti-rotation strength and improve rotary stability.  The pictures below illustrate a knee bent (beginner) and knees straight (advanced) version of the exercise.

kb-rs-corrective-1

kb-rs-corrective-2

The knee bent position allows for easier control of the lumbar spine while keeping the shoulder blades flat on the floor. cadence should be slow and deliberate avoiding momentum that may be caused by gravity.  Once this variation becomes easier, progress to the straight knee version below.

kb-rs-advanced-corrective-1

kb-rs-advanced-corrective-2

Form is everything here so be sure to use a weight that you can control, while slowly lowering the legs each direction.  This movement pattern blends in nicely with movement prep/pillar prep activities that work on hip disassociation as well.

Click here to see my video and full column for PFP Magazine on this exercise.

This post is dedicated to improving mobility in two areas I commonly find restrictions in among my clients - the ankle and thoracic spine. Specifically, I often find limitations in dorsiflexion and thoracic spine rotation that create undue stress on other parts of the kinetic chain.

ankle-wall-mob-2

Standing wall touch

Recently, I wrote an article for the WeckMethod site on how to assess and improve ankle mobility.  As a clinician and coach, I see this issue in many runners and athletes I work with.  At times, it is joint restriction, while in other cases it is soft tissue limitations that impact mobility.

There are several potential reasons why one might possess less than optimal movement in the ankle.  The most common causes include: joint stiffness following injury and/or immobilization, soft tissue tightness in the gastroc/soleus complex, scar tissue from a prior injury, anterior ankle impingement, chronic ankle instability and adaptive shortening of the Achilles tendon.  Want to read more?

Click here to read my article on the WeckMethod site

Decreased mobility in the thoracic spine often creates dysfunction and stress on other parts of the kinetic chain, namely the shoulder and lumbar spine.  In many cases, clients will demonstrate asymmetry based on their sport, activity level and injury history.  In light of this, I often prescribe a simple, yet effective corrective exercise they can do at home to restore motion.  The exercise below is taken from my ‘Functionally Fit’ column I recently did for PFP Magazine.

Side lying t-spine roll

Side lying t-spine roll

In the full online column, I reveal two ways to do this and the applications for it.  This exercise also offers a way to assess your own range of motion, while teaching you a straightforward corrective exercise to improve mobility.

Click here to see the video of the side lying t-spine roll